9:00am PT by Jean Bentley
'Scandal's' POTUS Reflects on the End of the Fitzgerald Grant Administration
When Fitzgerald Grant finally steps down as president of the United States on Scandal, chances are he'll want to follow Barack Obama's lead and take a nice, long tropical vacation.
"That sounds really, really good," Scandal's POTUS, Tony Goldwyn, tells The Hollywood Reporter. "He would like to do that."
There's just one problem: "How long he'll be able to, I have no idea," muses Goldwyn.
The end of the Fitzgerald Grant administration might not even come before the end of season six, he adds. "I have no concept of what Shonda [Rhimes] has planned for Fitz or when, frankly, we're going to see the end of Fitz's administration. In this season, we're really focused on what happened on election night and why and how, so we're tracking that. We've got to get through that nightmare first."
The season six premiere opened on election night, when Frankie Vargas was announced as the winner of the election — just before being shot dead by a sniper. Now, the nation is in flux and it's up to Fitz to figure out what, exactly, he's going to do so the country has a leader come January. The likely candidates? Frankie's runningmate, Cyrus (Jeff Perry), and Frankie's rival, Mellie (Bellamy Young). And while it's technically up to the Electoral College, Fitz is the one who needs to set the tone and everyone else will fall in line.
Initially, he placed his support behind Cyrus, despite the fact that Olivia (Kerry Washington) is convinced that Cyrus was behind Frankie's assassination. This didn't really sit well with his estranged wife, Mellie.
"I think they have this very bizarre but beautiful in its own way relationship. As mutually abusive as it is, Fitz admires Mellie tremendously while at the same time being completely aware of her self-destructive tendencies," says Goldwyn. "He's trying to support her, he really is. I think Fitz always felt that if Mellie is given a chance and is saved from herself, she could do extraordinary things. Fitz wants Mellie to be happy and to be fulfilled, he really honestly does."
The decision to back Cyrus has an effect on Fitz's relationship with Olivia, too, considering Olivia ran Mellie's presidential campaign.
"There's a lot of unspoken stuff in that relationship," reflects Goldwyn. "Fitz is still in love with Olivia and he always will [be], but he manages that. His innermost desire is that she will come to her senses, but he's a pragmatist and he realizes that's just not happening now. In a funny way, he's grateful to just to have her in his life, however he can get her. He and Olivia have a pretty straightforward relationship in terms of the way they do business together. They know each other extremely well on a very deep level, and so they're pretty honest with each other. He can be pretty honest with her, which he knows that she needs. She needs someone to shake her up sometimes, and Fitz is able to do that. But it's a painful thing. Every time he sees her he sort of longs for her, but he'll take her how he can get her."
And then there's his relationship with Cyrus, which has been renewed in the aftermath of Frankie's death.
"Fitz is fully appreciative of Cyrus's gifts, and yet Cyrus is not to be trusted, I think. I guess there's another part of Fitz that begrudgingly admires Cyrus for his loyalty to Frankie. As much as he hated losing to Frankie, I think Fitz thought that Frankie Vargas was a pretty good guy. And the fact that Cyrus had put his money on Frankie, even though Fitz tells him that it was a betrayal, there's something about it that he admires," says Goldwyn. "Unless Cyrus was just grasping for power, which also is very like Cyrus — that he put his bet on who he thought was going to be the winner."
But Fitz isn't going to let his relationship with Cyrus affect his ability to do what's best for the country. "At the end of the day, Fitz's job is to be president of the United States and to create a peaceful transition of power, and if that is going to Cyrus Beene, it's going to be Cyrus Beene," explains Goldwyn .
He continues, "He has that wonderful scene with Cyrus in the first episode where he says, 'I'm giving you the most beautiful thing in the whole world, this country, and you better respect it and you better do better than I did and be a moral human being.' I think he can see that Cyrus appears to be very awed and humbled by that. Seems to be! Fitz doesn't really have a choice, so he kind of goes, 'Well, I have to do my duty.' But it's not easy and it's going to get more complicated."
Scandal airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.
Watch a sneak peek at Thursday's episode below: